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On IWD2013: Be inspired by the success stories of 15 leading women in business

I love celebrating International Women’s Day. It’s a time to reflect on how far we’ve come since Australia first awarded women the vote back in 1902. Recognition of the progress we’ve made in recent years to get business focused on gender balance. And a reminder that we still have a long way to go, in order to ensure true equality, fairness and safety for women.

It’s terrific that we have more female role models than ever to aspire to: community leaders, business leaders and government leaders alike. Still, it’s obvious that we still have a long way to go when one considers that:

  • women still hold fewer than one in ten executive positions in our public companies
  • women earn on average $4 per hour LESS than their equivalent male counterparts and retire with less than half the median superannuation balance as men; and
  • one in three Australian women are in abusive relationships and there is one woman killed every week by intimate partner.

Although my work mainly involves gender equity in the workplace, that doesn’t prevent me from being horrified by this last point in particular.

Still, today is a day of celebration today, of coming together and working together for the future of women and all our communities.

Yes, today is a day to be inspired, and if you’re looking for inspiration, can I encourage you all to take some quiet time over the weekend to review the new Ernst & Young Women in Leadership report, “In Their Own Words”?  This is the fourth report in the Ernst & Young gender diversity series, and I think it’s the best. Why?  Because this time, EY has asked 15 Australian leaders to share what enabled their success, as a woman in business.

You can hear first hand the stories of these women, who share their experiences, advice and observations on what got them to where they are today:

  • Therese Rein, founder and CEO of Ingeus, the world’s largest provider of welfare-to-work services
  • Jane Hemstritch, non-executive director of four ASX-listed companies
  • Tina Thomas, Woodside’s Senior Vice President of Corporate:
  • Cathy Foley, Chief of Material Science & Engineering at CSIRO
  • Annabel Spring, Commonwealth Bank Group Executive for Wealth Management
  • Nessa O’Sullivan, Group CFO for Coca Cola Amatil
  • Linda Kristjanson, Vice-Chancellor of Swinburne University
  • Julie Mackay, Executive Director of UN Women Australia
  • Leah Armstrong, CEO of Reconciliation Australia
  • Janine Garrett, the founder of CHARM Health, a leading health informatics company
  • Melinda Cruz, CEO and Founder of the Miracle Babies Foundation, a national charity supporting parents of premature babies
  • Marion Webster and Renata Singer, social entreprenteurs
  • Lindley Edwards, Group CEO of AFG Venture Group
  • And me – yes, I was the only SheEO in this marvellous mix of women J

You can download the video clips and transcripts here or if you just want to download report, I’ve created a short cut here.

So on International Women’s Day, I hope you are inspired by the successes and stories of these women and that you are able to reflect on your own achievements in life too.

“Success is not about how much money you make… it’s about making a contribution that is important” – Linda Kristjanson

Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing… Happy International Women’s Day 2013!

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2 weeks ago

Jen Dalitz

What are the lessons you’re teaching your kids? We took the opportunity of a holiday long weekend to visit my mum interstate as the timing of the trip coincided with my son’s favourite AFL team battling it out against my mum’s beloved team. Perhaps only those of you with the love for AFL will appreciate why we’d plan a long distance trip around a game of footy, but suffice to say it was a passion project! With every ounce of anticipation, the game was a tough, tight duel and could easily have gone either way. Yet when the final siren sounded, it wasn’t our team that was smiling. It sure is tough for a 10 year old boy to sit within a crowd 41,000+ people all cheering for the opposite side. It was tough for him to see the exhaustion and disappointment on the faces of the players he adores. And yet, it’s so important for him to learn that his team won’t always win. There’s so many lessons in that, but the one I chose to instil is that you won’t always back the team that wins but you’ll always back the team that you love. That’s why I asked him to wear his team colours home the next day, and show his support even when the chips are down. That’s the kind of commitment I want my son to learn and the kind of team player I want him to be. PS. #gotheGiants @GWSGiants #neversurrender ... See MoreSee Less

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2 months ago

Jen Dalitz

I haven’t been here in a while as the writing has been on hold. But I was reminded today that there are things in our life that light us up. That might take us out of our comfort zone but, once you sit with it, bring you both joy and a sense of “I can do this” achievement. These moments are such a gift. So I’m curious, what’s your special thing that lights you up?

Despite (or in spit of) my professional career, these moments for me normally involve my horses. I’ll never be an equestrian Olympian, but I take great pleasure in all the lessons my horses teach me. They remind me that it’s a team effort, we’re in it together, and that if I’m prepared to give a little bit more, they will too. That’s true whether we’re on the ground taking care of their feet, or grooming, or when I’m atop riding as one. Two hearts one team.
It’s hard to describe the adrenaline and joy they bring to my life. But I’d love to know, what lights you up??
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And so, maybe time does change some things. Or women do.

Skavlan Talkshow
– They let me go at 42 because they told me I was too old to represent women's dreams. #kvinnedagen

Watch our talk show interview with Isabella Rossellini here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRa7UptZ3qw
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